I turned 18 years old a week ago, so to commemorate this occasion, I decided to reflect on some of the most important lessons I’ve learned, and maybe I can come back sometimes and take my own advice when I get too caught up in things to remember it.
1. Being sad is okay. Everyone is sad sometimes. But you will only continue to be sad if you settle into the sadness. Don’t let it grab you by the throat, continue with your life and you will notice the sadness will drift away.
2. Not everyone or everything is for you. Just because something or someone is a good fit for another person does not mean it or they will be a good fit for you, and you shouldn’t force yourself into a mold that was not made for you.
3. You are not going to remain who you were or who you are for the rest of the time you walk this planet. You are constantly changing, and this change can sometimes come about like the growth of grass, you don’t realise it’s grown until all of a sudden it needs cutting. Sometimes this change can be difficult to come to terms with because you may feel like you need to get to know yourself all over again, but don’t force anything. Just let things be and you will find comfort and confidence in the change.
4. Being scared is okay, but avoidance is not and will never be the best way to deal with things you are scared of. Time does not stop in its tracks for you during this period of avoidance and it will only hinder your ability to fully concentrate on other things while this fear or anxiety haunts the back of your mind. So just face those fears and be brave, no matter how big or small they may be.
5. Everyone sees the world and experiences the world through a different reality and your reality is no less valid or real than anyone else’s.
6. It is important to have a break. It is important to not cram every single moment of your life with activities and interactions. It is important to just watch the clouds go by every now and then and let yourself move with life instead of trying to get life to move with you.
7. It is okay to think a lot. Sometimes it may seem that you are going insane from all the things you think, but if you take a moment to appreciate the beauty and positives of having a mind so busy and creative, you will realise that it won’t be a burden if you don’t allow it to be.
8. It’s okay to say no. You will never please everyone. And you don’t have to. The only happiness that you are accountable for is your own, everyone else’s is in their own hands.
9. Telling the truth is far easier than lying once you overcome the idea that everything you do has to be perfect. No one and everyone is perfect and trying to maintain an image that is ‘everyone’s’ version of perfect, will never be perfect. Be your own perfect. The best and most perfect version of you is already right here as long as you are trying your best.
10. You don’t always have to validate everything you do. You don’t have to give reasons for every single one of your actions and back up something just because someone doesn’t like it or approve. Let them think what they want to think, only your opinion matters. Sometimes it is more exhausting trying to make everyone approve than it is to just accept their disapproval.
11. Do not have regrets. Do not let the things you once chose to do overwhelm your thoughts and life. Your choices at the time were the right ones, and while they may not have been so in hindsight, if they were right at the time, they were right. You are where you are today because of everything you once did, and by changing something, you may not end up in a position any better than the one you are in.
12. Don’t think so much about what others think of you. Not conforming is okay. Never be scared to not conform or of the negative connotations that sometimes come with not conforming. Do not hide your true self, just because you want to be like every body else, because sometimes every body else is boring.
13. Talking to people is the best thing you can do in any situation. Tell people what you think of them or how you feel about them. Tell people anything that’s on your mind that nags you, whether it be about you, them or others, positive or negative. Another persons insight is the best thing to put your mind at ease. Don’t let things fester inside your mind to rot.
14. Sometimes you might think what you’ve found is right only to discover later that it wasn’t right at all. And this is okay, because life is just a road of learning. Sometimes you won’t know what you want until you know what you don’t want. Everyone walks along the road of life at their own pace, and it is okay to take it a bit slower and take time to admire the flowers.
15. Live in the moment and don’t plan so much. It’s okay to not have plans. Don’t let the unknown scare you, just be excited by possibility. Because by looking into the future and trying to constantly plan, you are missing the things that are right in front of you.
16. At the same time, don’t live in the moment too much. What is right now is not the be all and end all. Nothing is permanent and every heart beat is fleeting, so not everything that is happening right now will matter in the long run. So make sure to see the bigger picture.
17. Not everything needs a label. Not everything needs to be explained or understood. As long as you are content with the state of things, you don’t need to label something just to please society.
18. You will never sleep if you don’t allow yourself to sleep and you will never be happy if you don’t allow yourself to be happy.